I am running Ubuntu 16.10 with snapd and the basic core snap installed since it was released.
After some time I observed that the /snap/core directory fills up with multiple older versions.
To remove them I'll have to execute sudo snap remove core --revision <number> manually.

Multiple versions of snaps & garbage collection section in Snaps and snapcraft documentation explains that after every update of a snap package the current version and the one before are installed and older versions are getting automatically removed (just as it was earlier the case).

As I cannot find further information in snap help, I am asking whether there is a setting or a switch command in snapd to enable automatic removal of those older core snap packages.
Additional information : What I described is valid for 3 machines with the same configuration.

  • 2
    The default in snapd is to keep 3 versions, current and two previous. How many were you seeing?
    – popey
    Mar 22, 2017 at 12:22
  • 2
    Thanks for this information @popey ! Whenever I found more than two core versions, I uninstalled the oldest one manually and in most cases I saw three installed versions, but I am not sure if I also found four versions before. Why does the documentation provide a different information ? Can I change the default settings to keep only the current and the one before ? Maybe you can explain it by writing an answer ? :)
    – cl-netbox
    Mar 22, 2017 at 13:27
  • If you're seeing more than 3 then it's a bug in my mind, so I'd file it at bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/snapd . Would need to see the output of "snap changes" and show directory listing maybe in /snap/<appname> to show multiple installed versions.
    – popey
    Mar 31, 2017 at 11:02

3 Answers 3


This post lists several solutions for older snap version removing:

Manual script by popey to delete "all old versions of snaps"

# https://superuser.com/a/1330590
# Removes old revisions of snaps

snap list --all | awk '/disabled/{print $1, $3}' |
    while read snapname revision; do
        snap remove "$snapname" --revision="$revision"

And "snap set system refresh.retain" setting for "snap 2.34 and later" by Mustapha Hadid to store only 2 revisions of every snap:

$ sudo snap set system refresh.retain=2 

The refresh.retain value can only be a number between 2 and 20 and has a default value of 3

  • 5
    i've run that sudo snap set system refresh.retain=2 , but there are still three copies of some snaps, what to do?
    – Rabbit
    May 16, 2019 at 16:46

Right now I don't believe it's possible to change the number of old versions of any snap, that's set at 3. If you see more than that, it's likely a bug, so should be filed at https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/snapd


use a command like this :-

sudo snap remove chromium       --revision 1461


chromium = example software
1461 = example revision

you can use "mount | grep snap" to find versions


snap list --all | awk '/disabled/{print $1, $3}' 

for old versions

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